Professional-Grade Hair Dryers Worth the Splurge

The key to a salon-worthy blowout—sans damage—is your hair dryer. You can’t get sleek, bouncy, frizz-free locks without a good one!

byCarla Sosenko| PUBLISHED Sep 11, 2020 7:52 PM
Professional-Grade Hair Dryers Worth the Splurge
We’ve unlocked the secret to a bouncy blowout!. Vinicus Wiesehofer, Pexels

First, to dispel a myth: a little bit of heat isn’t inherently bad for your hair, it’s the dwelling too long in one particular spot that does the damage, as does pulling too hard with a hairbrush. With the right dryer, you can use a high-powered tool on a medium heat and get the job done just fine. Professional-grade dryers have more gusto than your typical drugstore buy, meaning you’ll spend less time drying for a better result with less harm done. Shell out now for a high-quality model and you’ll be paid back in dividends with a healthier mane.

Worth the Splurge
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This option features a high-velocity jet, built-in temperature control and magnetic attachments (smoothing nozzle, styling concentrator and diffuser for curls).

Different styles need different settings, so pick a dryer with multiple heat options—including a cold shot, to lock in your look and add shine at the end—and speeds (for quick, regular and gentle drying). And keep in mind that blow-drying is hard work—look for a lightweight model to keep your wrists from getting tired.

Fast Drying
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This titanium style features 2,000-watt power and lightweight ergonomic handling. Nano ionic technology guarantees frizz-free hair in an instant!

Hair tools are made with different materials, so it’s important to understand your hair type and goals before investing. Ceramic disperses heat evenly, so it’s perfect for damaged or fine hair. Titanium heats strands faster, making it too much for sensitive locks and best for thicker strands. Tourmaline, a semi-precious gem, adds moisture and shine but works best on coarse hair.

Sleek Design
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The cap filter at the back pops off for easy cleaning; a 9-foot-long swivel cord means room to roam without getting tangled.

OK, ions: what do they do? Ionic appliances transfer negative ions to the hair and attract the positive ones in water to help dry hair faster at a lower temp (so with less damage and frizz). If your problem is limp locks (as opposed to frizz), you may want to steer clear of ionic tech. Some models allow you to toggle between ionic heat for sleek styles and non-ionic heat for volume. And keep in mind: ionic heat isn’t just for straight strands—it can also create soft, smooth curls if used with a round brush.

Budget Pick
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This baby includes diffuser and concentrator add-ons. 1875 watts guarantee a quick dry, and a coating made of proprietary micro-conditioning silicon polymers protects your tresses.

The biggest differences between an affordable pro dryer and the more extravagant models are life expectancy—the ones that cost a mint will last longer—and noise. The pricey picks are often whisper-quiet, but if you’re not particularly sensitive to sound (and you’re hesitant to drop hundreds on a hair tool) give a less expensive dryer a shot!